Demian DinéYazhi’ Water is Life and Four Posters





a simple equation
even a mathematician could get behind
mathematics at its simplest form

right now I should be at camp of the sacred stones in north dakota
honoring the resistance/protection of the standing rock dakota tribe against the dakota access pipeline

last year the gold king mine spill sent over 3,000,000 gallons of toxic wastewater down the
animas river in the four corners region of the united states
and you probably didn’t even hear about it

3,000,000 gallons of cadium, lead, arsenic, beryllium, zinc, iron, and copper.

if approved, it is estimated that the dakota access oil pipeline would carry over 500,000 barrels
of crude oil everyday from the bakken fields in north dakota to illinois
crossing the missouri river
which carries with it the threat of pollution and endangering the environment of sacred ancestral
indigenous land

google: moskva river fire after oil spill 2015
google: cuyahoga river fire 1969
google: wounded knee 1973
google: churchrock uranium mill spill 1979
google: david standard american holocaust death toll

over one hundred million indigenous people killed
allow me help you imagine that number:
imagine every person who has ever owned a tina turner
or adele or britney spears or david bowie album: dead / annihilated
because of colonial dumbfuckery european curiosity

I should be at standing rock
with the thousands of other indigenous activists
with the other indigenous tribes standing in solidarity against a white snake with black blood
trying to fuck shit up like a science-fiction horror story
except this time the indigenous people aren’t stereotyped as cannibal savages threatening white
tourists looking for a little bit of culture looking for something to discover looking for something
new to eat consume colonize repeat eat consume colonize
repeat: colonial dumbfuckery european curiosity
the other nite
I walked to the nearby 7-11 and came across two Indigenous folks while standing in line
I noticed a sister with a streak of pink hair wearing beaded earrings
so I asked them what tribe they are from
which is something I rarely ever feel confident doing
but which is also something I’ve seen my parents do countless times
her friend answers
he’s a handsome Indigenous guy wearing blue jeans and a white button-up dress shirt

“Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Northwest part of the state. What about


“Oh, Dene from Canada?”

“No. Diné. Navajo. From the southwest, Navajo Nation.”

“But did you know there are also Navajos up in Canada, too? It’s crazy.”

“Yeah, well, we were all freely migrating up and down back in the day. Have you been out to
Standing Rock, yet?”

“No. My co-workers went this weekend and we’re in town for a wedding, but I haven’t been yet.”

“I really wanna go but I’m headed back to New Mexico for a few weeks.”

“You should go. I wanna go for the medicine and the songs.”


upon leaving he hands me his business card / says we should keep in touch
I rarely run into other Indigenous people in my neighborhood so I take this as an affirmation:


colonizers can’t seem to grasp this reality
indigenous resistance isn’t protest or disruption or civil unrest
indigenous resistance is ceremony

and maybe that’s what terrifies them

our medicine isn’t based around capitalism or death politics
our medicine isn’t based on social hierarchies of oppression

our medicine doesn’t enslave the earth or attempt to conquer the land through extraction forced
penetration exploitation genocidal decimation to the landscape animals and people
basic colonial violence

I should be at standing rock instead of listening to laura nyro under a river tree and drinking
coconut water in the columbia river gorge
on a beach that would not exist unless the earth was exploded to construct a series of man-made
dams along this river’s natural course
that would not exist unless sacred indigenous lands and cultural artifacts were drowned or
displaced entire populations relocated removed by force by gunpoint by threat of death

now this site is a nude beach primarily populated by cis-male white queers
a couple months ago someone complained on facebook about the amount of heterosexuals who
were taking over the beach / the prime real estate / fallacious queer utopic destination: “Do you
remember when Rooster Rock was a gay beach?”
I chimed in “Remember when Rooster Rock was Indigenous Land?”
someone said “This comment should have ended the discussion.”
but you know how white progressives are
they keep going
and going
and going

but before I allow the frustration to consume me
I have to remind myself that everyone has a right to their opinion
and we live in a time of corruptive culture
desperate for attention
desperate to leave our mark somewhere
desperate to give away any soul we have left
for a momentary glimpse of validation


sometimes when I’m walking down the trails out here at ol’ cock rock
I swear I see shadows or movements in the trees when no one is clearly around
I imagine it’s the indigenous and queer ancestors who are protecting this land
and they lean in close to whisper in my ear:
don’t you know that writing about queer sex isn’t revolutionary anymore?

so then I walk down by the water and watch as thousands of suns blind me
watch as thousands of tiny suns create a vision of eternity
reflecting off the rippling of water
I walk out until the river gets deep enough for me to submerge my entire body
then I dunk under and come out drenched in life
the waves reflect vibrant strands of luminous transformative light against my legs thighs knees
submerged in water my dick moving slightly with the current
the mighty columbia running toward the pacific ocean
toward the future scene of a setting sun
and then I remember standing rock
the resistance / the medicine / the language
and I feel momentarily transplanted / for a second
a split second that lasts until I’ve cleansed myself with handfuls of water atop my head
intermittently watching the light of the river against my arms and hands outstretched

a visual ceremony for standing rock
for the animas river
for the mighty columbia
for all the water and life on earth battling colonial capitalist corporate greed

and I recall a text I sent joshua
after the orlando shooting
after the alton sterling shooting
after the video of philando castile being shot dead:

when there’s no one left to trust
destroy white supremacy
until there’s nothing left but love
destroy white supremacy
until we are able to choose how we
wish to survive
destroy white supremacy
until there is nothing left to love
destroy white supremacy
until it is ground down to dust
destroy white supremacy
destroy white supremacy
destroy white supremacy
destroy white supremacy
destroy white supremacy

and then I take a picture of the columbia river gorge looking out toward the direction of standing
rock and send it to him
as I leave the river I create a mantra for myself:

you should erect a monument in a public site that honors this sacred fight
you should erect a monument in a public site that honors this sacred fight
you should erect a monument in a public site that honors this sacred fight
you should erect a monument in a public site that honors this sacred fight

and with all this positive energy / ancestral memory / and sacred medicine

I think we all just might